Check Your Breakers, Check Your Neighbors

Power Out? Check your breakers and check your neighbors before contacting the PUD. Many non-storm related outage reports are due to issues within the home electrical system. Familiarize yourself with your electrical panel and keep track of any GFCIs. Look outside to see if your neighbors are also without power before reporting an outage. It helps the PUD determine what kind of outage you may have (or not have). Remember to keep flashlights and extra batteries charged and handy.

At their January 19th regular meeting, the PUD’s Board of Commissioners approved a $250 after-hours call out fee. The fee would be applied to the accounts of customers who request an after-hours visit from PUD linemen to address an electrical issue that does not involve PUD equipment, especially alarm systems and generators. See the illustration below to better understand what parts of the home electrical service the PUD is responsible for and which parts the property owner must maintain. Responding to these calls costs the PUD and the ratepayers money and time that has not been recovered to date.

Customers who report an outage to our after-hours call service will now be made aware of the $250 fee and reminded to check their breakers and their neighbors before calling. The $250 after hours call-fee is not intended to discourage calls. Please continue to report all outages or expected outages. Isolated outage incidences of single or small clusters of homes are hard for PUD systems to detect. Often times the only way we will know customers are without power due to an issue with PUD equipment in these circumstances are if the customer calls. The after-hours call service will walk you through the process of what to check before sending a line-crew to investigate.

The goal of the after hours call-fee is not punish customers who made their best faith effort to report an outage, the goal is to reduce repeat and frivolous calls that resulted from customers being unwilling to do the basics on their end. If after following all the steps properly and a line crew arrives on site and discovers that the outage is on the customer side, the PUD staff and commissioners have allowed for customers to appeal the charge or request forgiveness.

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